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will be some gratification to your curiosity. I long impatiently to be released from an expensive and distressing affair, and hope soon to obtain my Quietus. My friends are importunate for my continuance in it while there is any Prospect of Reconciliation; but this is at present too distant and uncertain to Give me Encouragement, or keep up my spirits while I suffer a painful exclusion from the society of my Family and Friends.
Be pleased to present my respectful compliments to my worthy Friends the Judge and Colonel and their Ladies and believe me to be
Jas. DUANE. Philad. 9th Decem. 1775
JAMES DUANE AND SALT MAKING.
Instructions To Mr. Sim concerning the Experiments to be made for the State of New York and by order of Convention, on the Salt Lake and Springs in the County of Tryon:
1. You are to proceed to Albany and there to apply to the Honorable Major General Schuyler for his advice and for a letter to the Indians and Instruction to the Agent for Indian Affairs in order to induce the Indians to permit the proper Experiments to be made for ascertaining the Quality of the waters. For this purpose it will be proper to represent that the Ships of the Enemy have obstructed the navigation so as to render the importation of salt difficult; and that the carriage of it from the neighboring States rais'd the price so much that the Great Council of New York wish to supply the inhabitants on more moderate Terms; That it is believed that large quantities of salt may be made out of the waters or dug out of the Ground in the Country belonging to the Indians: That the Great Council consider the Soil as the private Property of the Indian Nations and therefore request from their Brethren the five Nations or the Nation who may be more particularly concerned that Mr. Sim and the Persons who are sent to assist him may be permitted to make salt in their Country: That far from being any disadvantage it will be a benefit to the Indians, as the Great Coun
a cil are willing to pay them a reasonable Rent for the use of the Springs and Ground as long as they shall find it necessary to carry on the salt works, for which purpose only they make this Request: That the Great Council are persuaded that as they are heartily disposed and are anxious to assist their Brethren the Five Nations, so they will now on their part be pleased with an opportunity of obliging them.
2. You are to apply to Mr. Ryckman of Albany to go with you to the Indian Country and also to Mr. Felmer of the German Flatts and to take any other assistants which you may think necessary for making proper experiments. At the German Flatts you can supply yourself with Provisions.
3. You are from time to time inform this Committee of your proceedings and endeavor by proper Experiments to ascertain the Quantity of salt which can be produced from a given quantity of Water, and the quantity of Salt which may be manufactured by a given number of hands, either from evaporation or by digging it out of the Earth, in a specified time. You are also to calculate the expense of each method of the manufacture and transportation to Albany on 1000 bushels of salt.
4. Whether the first attempt to establish this necessary manufacture will be at Oriske, or Oneida, or Onondaga, must depend on information and discoveries. The Committee of Albany and Tryon Counties will be ready to give you assistance and advice. You are furnished by us with £80 of the expenditure, of which you will keep and transmit regular
accounts, and when it is expended you will be supplied with more on proper application of the Committee.
JAMES DUANE, Chairman of the Committee for establishing salt
maunfacture within this State. Kingston, 5th March, 1777.
JAMES DUANE TO MITCHELL.
[There is no signature to this letter in the original, but internal evidence points to James Duane as the writer.)
ALBANY 9th February 1780. Sir
It was not till Yesterday that I heard you quoted as the Author of a Report, that I had refused to take Continental Money and had sold my Effects for Gold & Silver. Every Man in public office owes it to his Country to give Satisfaction when the Integrity or even the prudence of his Conduct is called in Question. I only wish it had been thought right to have given me an opportunity of Explanation, before the Facts were made the Ground of Accusation.
You are among those who, if I am not greatly mistaken, will take pleasure in the Refutation of this Report, and of doing me Justice, as far as by your Means it has been spread abroad.
I have never injured any man or used my property to the oppression of An Individual.
I cannot therefore suppose myself the object of Resentment or Envy. I have served my Country faithfully in its greatest Distress, and think I have some Title to Esteem: at least, I have a Character too precious to be tarnished by the little Meaness implied in the Report, and therefore, while I am willing to believe your Motives were laudable, you will pardon my Surprize at your Credulity. I can say, with Truth, that few have been more sollicitous than myself to maintain the Credit of the paper Money nor more truly concerned at its Fluctuation: and the more so, as I always firmly believed that it was established on a solid Foundation, and that Nothing but an ungovernable Thirst for Gain, joined to the Artifices of our Enemies could have impaired its credit to any dangerous Extent.
I declare that I have never, in a single Instance, sold or offered to sell during the Contest for specie, and tho' I might have received it for a pair of Horses which were a Burthen to me I declined it, upon Reflection, at the same Time that I believed very few indeed would have been so delicate.
Nor have I refused, to this Hour, to take Continental Money, even for Debts contracted before the War, tho' in one Instance, at least, I knew that the Debtor had obtained it by the most shameful Extortion. The injuries I have suffered by the Depreciation: the Frauds of Workmen in your Neighbourhood and in my Absence in the Country's Service: and a prevailing Aversion to labor or part with materials or provisions in any other Manner than by Barter or for Specie could hardly have Escaped the knowledge of any intelligent Man. A Barn which has cost me above £700 is a sufficient Monument of the Extravagancy of which I complain. If these are Facts: If it has been a general practice for some Time past to deal for specie not only in Schenectady but in every Town on the Continent why have I been singled out as the cause (for a recent Transaction) long after the Mischief was universally known to have taken deep Root? I, who have received the Continental Money at its depreciated state for old debts, at the same Time that I have discharged my own Contracts at the intrinsic value, because I could not Deprive the Laborer of his Hire consistently with my own Feelings, tho' I had Example to countenance it as well as my own Treatment from others. You will be pleased Sir to be made better acquainted with the Circumstances which have given Rise to the Report, which is laid to your Charge. A Report, which you will, on Enquiry, find to have originated
from a Quarrel between my Overseer and some persons whom he did not think fit to trust with my property for three Years, without security. To avoid a long Detail I shall confine myself to the Articles to which, it is said, you alluded, at the same Time assuring you that, conscious of my own Rectitude, I am ready and willing to give you and every Friend to the Country the clearest satisfaction on every other part of my Conduct. When I returned, in November last to Duanesburgh, after an Absence of sixteen Months, and settled with the Overseers of two Farms under my own Improvement, I found, to my Astonishment, that instead of the Farms and Stocks having supported themselves—I was brought in Debt about £120 in specie for Wages, Hay, provisions, &c. on exclaiming at so unexpected a Demand I was assured that Labor or Necessaries were not to be procured in that part of the Country but for specie or produce. I had been for some Time collecting Materials for a Dwelling House. I might have disposed of them, the Glass especially, to great Advantage. Instead of this, without interest or profit I delivered them to a Gentleman who intends to build on my settlement at the original Cost on his accepting an order in favor of my overseer for the Debt I owed him and engaging to pay the Balance at a future Day. This was my only expedient to extricate myself, not being possessed, after paying the other.-Demand of as much specie in the World. Finding my Farming Business so ruinous, while my whole Attention was devoted to the public, I was reduced to the further Necessity of breaking up my Farms. It was in my power to dispose of the stock for specie or for Continental Money—To both there were objections—If I sold for specie—tho, I saw it done by every other Man without Censure, I-might be blamed-if for Continental Money at the current enormous price I might be charged with the
Ι contributing to the Depreciation. If I sold at an under Rate I should injure my Family without doing the least good to